Orchids & onions

ORCHID: To Newton Falls basketball coaching legend Gene Zorn for receiving the honor of having the school’s home court renamed Gene Zorn Gymnasium. Zorn was the head coach for 26 seasons, compiling 321 wins, six league championships and, most importantly, shaping the lives of hundreds of student athletes.

ONION: To Niles, Brookfield and any other school district for expanding the number of calamity days by using the so-called ”Blizzard Bag,” a state program that allows districts to assign students homework instead of attending school during bad weather. And an ONION to the state of Ohio for allowing such a program.

ORCHID: To Vienna basketball legend Rex Leach, who had the honor of Mathews High School home floor being renamed Rex Leach Court. Leach holds the Ohio High School Athletic Association single season scoring record, which he set in the 1954-55 season by averaging 43.7 points per game. Mathews is the consolidated Vienna and Fowler high schools.

ONION: To the McDonald Board of Education for, soon after using a levy to recover from fiscal emergency, increasing the percentage of the premiums taxpayers contribute toward teachers’ health insurance. This bucks the trend of the government sector inching toward a share more comparable to the private sector.

ORCHID: To Warren City Schools Superintendent Michael Notar for his comments during the Asa Phillip Randolph Institute Salute to Martin Luther King Jr. Notar encouraged people in the community to spend an hour a week, or even an hour a month, with students in the schools.

ORCHID: To Niles native Andrew Rozzano, who has been recognized for his work as a lead researcher at Akron Children’s Hospital.

ORCHID: To Pastor Todd Johnson of Agape Assembly Church for his appointment to replace the Rev. Frank Hearns on the city of Warren Civil Service Commission.

ORCHID: to Jim Economos, owner of Saratoga Restaurant, for his appointment to the Packard Music Hall board.

Orchids & onions

ORCHID: To Warren City Council members who want to eliminate the administrative coordinator position, and ORCHID to Mayor Doug Franklin, who was quick to point out that money for police officers is more important.

ONION: To Weathersfield trustees for agreeing to rehire police Chief Joseph Consiglio and equipment operator William Hewitt after they retire at the end of this month. Retire-rehire has plagued Ohio’s public employee pension funds, prevented many young people from advancing in their career fields and led to a bill currently in the Ohio legislature that would put serious restrictions on this misguided practice.

ORCHID: To First Book, Toys for Tots and anonymous donors for their contributions to the Community Volunteer Council, which has been able to secure a van to serve local needy.

ONION: To the Packard Music Hall Foundation Inc., for losing its nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service. According to IRS records, the foundation had $73,395 in 2007 but must now hire an attorney to deal with the nonprofit status revocation.

ORCHID: To Trumbull County commissioners for increasing the funding for the Trumbull County Land Bank. The money comes from the penalty added to past due property tax bills.

ORCHID: To Trumbull County commissioners for allowing the owners of a Howland mobile home park to pay the cost of a sewer tap-in fee, $183,000, in installments.

ORCHID: To the Liberty Board of Education for not placing a tax increase on the May ballot. The school board should continue to look for ways to avoid asking the highest-taxed property owners in Trumbull County for more money.

ORCHID: To the Trumbull Correctional Institute for donating 380 knitted hats to the Warren Family Mission. The hats were knitted by an inmate group.

Orchids & Onions

ONION: To Newton Falls council members Richard Zamecnik, Nancy Hoffman, Phillip Beer and Tarry Alberini, for passing a police compensation ordinance as an emergency, thus bypassing the two-reading process that allows for additional public input. ORCHID: to Newton Falls Councilman David Wilson, who voted against passing the measure as an emergency.

ORCHID: To Trumbull County government employees who donated $600 toward Trumbull 100’s effort to raise money for handrails at Packard Music Hall. ONION: to Trumbull County commissioners Frank Fuda, Dan Polivka and Paul Heltzel for presenting the check; they should have arranged for employees to make the presentation.

ORCHID: To Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill and other village officials for their 2013 accomplishments, including eastside sewer project completion and adding gas and oil wells to the zoning codes; and for their 2014 goals that include working closely with the Ohio Commerce Center. The center provides one of the most significant economic development opportunities in Trumbull County.

ORCHID: To the Western Reserve Port Authority for its effort to receive $1 million from the U.S. EPA for a brownfield remediation revolving loan. This is a follow-up to the $600,000 grant the Port Authority received last year for a brownfield inventory.

ORCHID: To Southington Board of Education member Al Haberstroh for voting against placing a 4.9-mill, four-year emergency levy on the May 6 ballot. Haberstroh said he wanted more information before voting favorably.

ORCHID: To Pathway Sober House on celebrating its 15th anniversary.

ORCHID: To the Warren Police Department for offering another Citizens Police Awareness Academy Training class.


Orchids & onions

ORCHID: To Windham High School students who partnered with Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio to teach JA programs to 12 classrooms of kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Katherine Thomas Elementary School last month.

ORCHID: To Hiram College officials for approving a project to renovate space in a residence hall to house military veterans and their families. Renovation of Henry Hall includes conversion of 44 double occupancy rooms into single private quarters for veterans attending Hiram under the post 9/11 GI Bill. The new dedicated space will be named Freedom Center at Henry Hall.

ORCHID: To The Morris and Phyllis Friedman Foundation for its $25,000 donation to the Animal Welfare League.

ORCHID: To the North Bloomfield Historical Society for its Trains in the Town Hall free show that attracted more than 500 visitors. The organization provided a running train display, refreshments, scavenger hunts, cookies to decorate and door prizes, all for free.

ONION: To Newton Falls Mayor Lyle Waddell for his inaccurate defense of the village’s decision to not seek a law enforcement bid from the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office. Waddell publicly chastised the Tribune Chronicle for urging Newton Falls to let the sheriff’s office take over. The Tribune’s editorial board has merely suggested that Newton Falls obtain a bid to compare with the cost of maintaining its own department. Waddell also publicly chastised the newspaper for not urging other communities to do the same. The newspaper’s editorial board has many times encouraged other communities, such as Liberty and Warren, to seek bids from the sheriff.

ORCHID: To Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Protune for entering the Democratic Party primary for Ohio governor despite the Ohio Democratic Party’s attempt to prevent candidate Ed FitzGerald from encountering any competition.